Environmental science & technology

Importance of fine particles in pesticide runoff from concrete surfaces and its prediction.

PMID 22571274


Pesticides such as pyrethroids have been frequently found in runoff water from urban areas and the offsite movement is a significant cause for aquatic toxicities in urban streams and estuaries. To better understand the origination of pesticide residues in urban runoff, we investigated the association of pyrethroid residues with loose particles in runoff water from concrete surfaces after treatment with commercial products of bifenthrin and permethrin. In runoff water generated from simulated precipitations after 1 to 89 d exposure under dry outdoor conditions, over 80% of the pesticides was found on particles >0.7 μm for most treatments. The solid-water partitioning coefficient (K(d)) on day 1 was estimated to be 2.4 × 10(3) to 1.1 × 10(5) L/kg for permethrin and bifenthrin on these solids. Except for solid formulations, the pesticide-laden particles likely originated from dust particles preexisting on the concrete before treatment and the disintegration of the surficial concrete matter through weathering. We consequently tested a simple sponge-wipe method to collect and analyze the loose particles on concrete. Concurrent analyses (n = 30) showed an excellent linear correlation between the amount of pesticides transferrable to runoff water and that on the wipe (R(2) = 0.78, slope = 1.13 ± 0.11, P < 0.0001). The fact that the linear relationship has a slope close to 1.0 suggests that this method may be used to predict pesticide residues available for contaminating runoff water before runoff actually occurs. The importance of loose particles should be considered when developing practices to mitigate pesticide runoff contamination from urban residential areas.